Burn First Aid
Burns can result from heat (thermal burn), electrical, or exposure to chemicals.
The majority of burns should be seen by a doctor. Some first-degree burns, such as mild sun burn, can be treated without doctor care.
Never apply home remedies such as butter or baking soda to a burn. Many ointments and home remedies applied topically actually trap the heat, causing further damage to the burned area and can lead to infection.
First Aid treatment for burns should focus on keeping the burned area clean, preventing and/or treatment for shock, and pain control. Severe burns (second and third degree burns) often lead to shock. Shock is a life-threatening condition and should be addressed immediately.
Call 9-1-1 if you suspect the casualty is experiencing shock. Symptoms of shock include cold, clammy skin, pale or gray skin color, nausea, vomiting, and/or shallow, rapid breathing.
Call 9-1-1 or EMS immediately.
Gently brush away any excess powdered chemicals from the skin, being careful not to get the chemical on you or elsewhere on the casualty. Be especially careful of the eye area. Immediately flush the remaining chemicals off the burned area with copious amounts of running water for at least 15-20 minutes. Use a shower, hose or any available water faucet. Continue to flush with water while carefully removing any clothing from the burned area.
Place a clean, sterile dressing over the burn area. Burns from various chemicals require specific first aid care. Check the Material Safety Data Sheet and/or product label for treatment recommendations. Give these MSDS instructions to Emergency Medical Personnel when they arrive.
Treat the same as thermal burns, but always consider scene safety for the rescuer (turn off power source that caused the burn.) If the electrical burn is severe; looks for both entry and exit wounds/burns as the electricty could have traveled completely through leaving both entry and exit wounds. Treat all severe electrical burns as life-threatening and call 9-1-1 or seeking medical attention immediately.
Severe Thermal Burns
Call 9-1-1 or EMS if the burn is severe.
Cool the burned area by immersing in cool, clean water for at least 15 minutes. Apply a clean, sterile dressing over the burned area(s) to protect from infection.
Keep the casualty calm and still while you wait for EMS to arrive. If possible, elevate the burned area to help prevent swelling and pain, but only do so if it does not cause further discomfort to the casualty.
Mild Thermal Burns
Cool the burned area by immersing in cool, clean water for at least 15 minutes. Do not break blisters or rub skin. Place a dry, sterile dressing over the burn area to keep clean.